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Nearly seven of every 10 Maltese live in houses too big for them

2016 report found EU average to be 34.8%

Nearly seven out of every 10 Maltese people live in houses that are too big for them, according to a Eurostat report published on Wednesday.

The 2016 report put Malta in the top both when it comes to under-occupied dwellings and to low rates of overcrowding. 

The findings state that the share of people living in under-occupied dwellings in Malta reached 68.4 per cent, putting the EU's smallest nation in third place behind fellow island-nations Ireland (70.6%) and Cyprus (69.6%).

Its European counterparts averaged 34.8 per cent under-occupied households.

In contrast, fewer than 2.9 per cent were deemed to be living in overcrowded houses, comparing favourably to top-ranked Romania's 48.4 per cent or the EU average of 16.6 per cent.

What this tells us is that an overwhelming majority of Maltese households are essentially too large, exceeding the needs of the occupants, while only very few do not have the appropriate number of rooms in relation to the household.

An under-occupied dwelling is a dwelling deemed to be too large for the needs of the household living in it, in terms of excess rooms and more specifically bedrooms. Under-occupation is opposed to a situation of overcrowding. The classic cause of under-occupation is older individuals or couples remaining in their home after their children have grown up and left; family breakdown can also result in under-occupation.

For statistical purposes, a dwelling is defined as under-occupied if the household living in it has at its disposal more than the minimum number of rooms considered adequate, and equal to:

• one room for the household;
• one room per couple in the household;
• one room for each single person aged 18 or more;
• one room per pair of single people of the same gender between 12 and 17 years of age;
• one room for each single person between 12 and 17 years of age and not included in the previous category;
• one room per pair of children under 12 years of age.

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